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NHL Lockout Takes Bizarre Turn as Owners Reject NHLPA Proposal

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13:  Don Fehr, executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association meets with the media at the Marriott Marquis Times Square on September 13, 2012 in New York City. Joining him from left to right is Ruslan Fedotenko, Henrik Lundqvist, Zdeno Chara and Sidney Crosby.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Tim KeeneyContributor IDecember 6, 2012

Close, but no cigar.

It appeared as though the NHL lockout was coming to an end on Thursday night when Donald Fehr, the executive director for the NHL Players Association, put forth tremendous optimism about the deal they had in place (via the Philadelphia Inquirer's Sam Carchidi):

Fehr: "This should put us on the road to a quick end to this dispute."

— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) December 6, 2012

 

But things quickly took a turn for the worse. From ESPN's Katie Strang:

#CBA Fehr informed media just now that deal was rejected via voicemail.

— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) December 7, 2012

 

It was truly a strange turn of events over an extremely quick period of time. First a deal was all but done. Then, all of a sudden, it wasn't. A deal that seemed so optimal at one point was quickly deemed "not acceptable" by the owners. 

Now, once again, each side is calling the other out:

Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL, had this to say about Fehr's actions on the night (via Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News):

Bettman calls Fehr being optimistic to media tonight "almost incomprehensible"

— Pat Leonard (@NYDNRangers) December 7, 2012

 

According to the Carchidi and the Buffalo News' John Vogl, Bettman had a few more negative words:

Bettman calls is an "emotional roller coaster" this week.

— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) December 7, 2012

Bettman says owners were beside themselves and said "This process is over. Clearly union doesn't want to make a deal."

— John Vogl (@BuffNewsVogl) December 7, 2012

 

Bettman described the wishy-washiness of the recent events that will cause so much anger for the fans. From Carchidi:

Bettman says there was "great optimism and hope" that "almost inexplicably" disappeared on Wed.

— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) December 7, 2012

 

This is certainly a less-than-encouraging end to a night that hours ago was looking so promising. As long as the two sides continue to have such poor communication through the process, it's hard to imagine a deal getting done anytime soon.

But then again, with the way things are going, no one really knows what will happen next. 

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